In the eyes of the average employee, health benefits are no longer a nice luxury or “job perk.” They’ve become a necessity consideration for workers when weighing employment options. This rising expectation among the workforce has created a chasm between small businesses and large corporations. Increasingly, smaller businesses are being forced to compete with large corporations for the most qualified job applicant which, in turn, could lead to a smaller hiring pool and a subsequently suboptimal staff once the hiring process has concluded. How does a small company with a smaller budget get the same big company benefits they need to compete?
Luckily there are Third-Party Administrators (TPAs) who are able to offer the same quality of benefits that large corporations enjoy, but tailored specifically for small and medium sized businesses. Understanding what is usually found in a typical employee health benefits plan, and how Benecaid’s menu of solutions can help your company, is the first step. Benecaid can help establish your organization as a company that looks out for their employees by providing the benefits they need, and help your smaller company even the playing field against its corporate competition.
Here are the top 10 most common benefit options that are included in a group plan:
1. Extended Health Care
Extended Health Care (EHC) benefits provide protection against the high cost of medical service and treatments not covered by the province’s health care plan. Details of specific coverage, level of coinsurance, and deductibles can be customized to fit each group.
Extended health care overage usually includes:
- Prescription Drugs
- Hospital Accommodation
- Paramedical Services
- Vision Car
- Ambulance Services
- Private Duty Nursing
- Medial equipment and devices such as crutches, hearing aids etc.
Benefits of providing extended health care coverage:
More and more, provincial plans are de-listing services and benefits available under the government health plan; this can lead to significant out-of-pocket expenses.
2. Dental Care
Dental Care benefits help pay for eligible dental procedures that are provided by a licensed dental professional. Coverage can be customized with variable maximums and procedure frequencies.
Examples of dental care coverage are:
- Basic preventative & diagnostic coverage which includes examinations, consultations, x-rays, polishing, scaling and root planning, topical fluoride treatments and sealants
- Restorative services including filings and prefab or stainless steel crowns
- Surgical procedures such as exams and root canal therapy
- Denture services such as reline and liners, and repairs to existing dentures and tissue reconditioning
- Major services including periodontics, crowns, bridges and orthodontics
3. Travel Coverage
Travel benefits provide coverage for medical services and treatments that occur outside your province or country of residence. Benecaid offers annual travel coverage with all of our products, which can be customized to fit the unique needs of each business and its employees.
Travel coverage can include, but is not limited to, the following:
- Trip cancellation
- Travel interruption
- Baggage and personal effects
- Customizable number of travel days – 30, 60, 90 days per trip, unlimited number of trips
- Dental procedures and diagnostics
- Companion airfare
- Return of vehicle
- Hospital accommodation
- Ambulance services
- 24/7/365 days a year, multi-lingual world-wide support
Benefits of offering travel coverage:
Emergency medical services occurring out-of-province are generally not covered by a provincial medical plan. Providing travel coverage for employees provides peace of mind in case anything happens when travelling.
4. Life Insurance (Dependent Life Insurance)
Group life insurance protects employees and their families by providing tax-free cash benefit to beneficiaries in the event of a death.
Benefits of offering life insurance:
Offering life insurance coverage within a group health benefits plan provides employees with peace of mind knowing they have financial support for their families should a death occur.
5. Disability Insurance
A disability can result from a number of causes including an injury, a serious illness or a mental health issue. The duration of a disability can be considered either short- or long-term.
Short-Term Disability (STD) coverage provides employees with income replacement, for generally 15 to 26 weeks, should they unable to carry out professional activities due to an accident or illness.
Long-Term Disability (STD) coverage provides employees with income replacement, for generally more than 18 weeks, should they unable to carry out professional activities due to an accident or illness.
6. Disability Management
Experienced case managers are assigned to each disability case to ensure thorough claims investigation and timely benefit payments, with the ultimate goal being the successful return to work by the disabled employee.
Benecaid’s disability management approach focuses on:
- Strong partnerships with employers and employees
- Early intervention
- Case management
- Rehabilitation management
7. Accidental Death and Dismemberment (AD&D)
Accidental Death and Dismemberment (AD&D) coverage provides employees with added financial security if they are faced with sudden and tragic circumstances.
AD&D coverage can be customized to provide support in the event of:
- Accidental death
- Loss of sight, hearing or speech
- The accidental dismemberment of part or all of a limb (i.e. hands, feet, arms, legs, fingers or toes)
This benefit is in addition to any other life insurance benefits, and is paid directly to the plan member or their beneficiary (in the case of death).
8. Group Critical Illness
Group Critical Illness coverage provides a lump sump benefit when an employee, or dependant, is diagnosed with a covered life-threatening illness.
Critical Illness benefit payments can be used towards anything the employee chooses such as:
- Experimental drugs,
- Out-of-province treatment,
- Alternative treatment,
- Nursing or home care.
Benefits of group critical illness coverage:
Suffering from a crucial illness such as cancer, heart attack or stroke can be a life changing experience. This coverage helps mitigate the physical, emotional and financial challenges that often persist beyond the point of physical recovery.
9. Best Doctors 360°
Best Doctors 360° provides an additional network of resources to help employees get information on a variety of health topics, ultimately helping them make well-informed decisions about their health care.
Examples of resources available through Best Doctors 360° include:
- Condition-specific website links and articles
- Physician biographies
- Contact information for specialists and facilities
- Assistance finding group support for depression
- Research and assistance in finding care and residency for elderly parents
- Finding groups or associations for diabetes
- Locating psychologists
- Assistance in formulating questions you may need to ask your physicians
Benefits of offering Best Doctors 360°:
- Quick and convenient access to information
- Personalized Member Advocate – a Registered Nurse is assigned to each case to provide personalized information and resources
10. Employee and Family Assistance Program (EFAP)
An Employee and Family Assistance Program (EFAP) can provide confidential support for employees and their family members, in assessing and resolving work, health and life issues.
Support for employees can be provided through a variety of delivery methods – a downloadable app, online chat or by phone.
An EFAP can help employees and their families with a variety of life issues such as:
- Work-related stress reactions
- Marital or family problems
- Emotional problems
- Alcohol or drug dependencies
- Life crisis and bereavement
- Eldercare and childcare problems
- Financial and legal assistance
Examples of support available for employees include:
- Professional counselling
- Health coaching
- Legal support
- Naturopathic services
- Nutrition support
- Fitness support
- Stress coach connects
- Smoking cessation
- Financial planning services
Benefits of offering EFAP:
Employee and Family Assistance Programs have been proven to improve employee productivity, reduce absenteeism and lower your overall health, drug and benefit costs.
Providing benefits for employers
In a recent article published by Benefits Canada, a Conference Board survey found that the spending on employee benefits averages $8,330 per year in 2015. Included in this were the following:
- 90% or more of organizations offered vision care for full-time employees
- 96% offered private or semi-private hospital accommodation
- 99% provided out-of-country medical coverage
- 99% offered massage therapy, chiropractic coverage, and physiotherapy
- 89% of employers provided major restorative dental services
- 91% provided accidental death and dismemberment coverage
- 99% provided long-term disability benefits.